The Thyroid Solution : A Mind-Body Program for Beating Depression and Regaining Your Emotional and Physical Health
By Ridha Arem, MD
Review and Information from Mary Shomon
Having the thyroid tests interpreted liberally enough to catch many low-level cases of thyroid problems.
Getting the right dosage of the right medicine.
Convincing the doctor to even recognize the symptoms, and test for a thyroid problem.
Once diagnosed, treated, at optimal thyroid hormone blood levels, and on the right mix of thyroid drugs...figuring out what to do you do if you STILL don't feel well?
Ridha Arem's book does a decent job on the first two points. There, he talks honestly and openly about symptoms such as brain fog, depression, loss of libido, weight gain, anxiety, and many others. These are symptoms that all too frequently, doctors either deny, ignore, don't recognize, or attribute to causes other than the thyroid. Arem has also researched and analyzed the relationship of thyroid disease to brain chemistry, and resulting depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders and other mental and emotional effects -- in great depth. This is a subject simply not covered in most of the current thyroid-related books available to patients. It is to Dr. Arem's credit that he has greatly added to the scientific understanding of the mind-thyroid relationship.
Dr. Arem also provides a good scientific grounding in why patients with low-level thyroid problems should be treated, with enough information that patients can show the relevant pages and references to their doctor and perhaps convince the doctor to treat them.
Where the book seems to be less pioneering is in its approach to the many millions of thyroid patients who get diagnosed, treated, are at optimal thyroid hormone blood levels, and on the right mix of thyroid drugs...who STILL don't feel well.
I hear from thousands of thyroid patients a week by email, so I hear from people in the trenches with thyroid disease every day. I know that despite the best advice of doctors like Arem who seem to understand thyroid problems, most doctors simply don't have much of an understanding of the issue. For the majority of patients, even finding a doctor who will agree to thyroid testing, much less treatment, can be nearly impossible. These doctors need to read Arem's book, and at least open their minds to Dr. Arem's interpretations of what is a "normal" thyroid test result, or what constitutes low-level hypothyroidism and warrants treatment. Where the book leaves patients -- including me, as I have Hashimoto's thyroid disease with resulting hypothyroidism -- hanging is that there are many people who have found that much more is needed than even just the things Dr. Arem recommends as the crux of his program -- T4/T3 drugs, therapy, mind-body exercise and complex carbohydrate diet.
Dr. Arem's book acknowledges that hypothyroidism can cause infertility or miscarriage, but doesn't address how thyroid patients themselves can help to increase the likelihood of a successful and healthy pregnancy. He also skims fairly quickly over the issues of relationships between thyroid disease and women's hormonal medicine.
Given its somewhat scientific style, Dr. Arem's book should be required reading for all doctors, who could benefit from the breadth of understanding Dr. Arem has about the symptoms of thyroid disease. Given the conventional endocrinology credentials of the author -- the book could be valuable ammunition for patients who need to fight for proper diagnosis and treatment with less enlightened doctors. Being able to point to the fact that an MD endocrinologist has written positively about these previously shunned forms of diagnosis, treatment, and hormone replacement takes them out of the realm of "alternative" or "quackery," a development that is only good for all thyroid patients in our search for the best possible lives and health.
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